Thursday, August 31, 2006

N.Ram's intro by a person who knows him for more than 20 years

The Hindu editorial policy and N. Ram's personal worldview to a great extent is against communalism, ultra - nationalism, fundamentalism etc. Contrary to the name "The Hindu" the newspaper has firmly and actively opposed Hindu fundamentalism in India. The paper and newsmagazine have been in the frontline of resistance to the Bharatiya Janatha Party and its kindred organizations known as the "Sangh Parivar like Rashtriya Seva sangham (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Bajrang Dal etc.

Sometimes I am amused when I read the verbal abuse in pro - tiger Tamil journalisms about the "paarpaneeyam" (brahminism) of N. Ram. It appears to me that some of these critics perceive him as a typical orthodox Iyengar brahmin with the striped "namam" on his forehead. The reality is starkly different from perception.

Far from being a conservastive brahmin the Hindu editor in chief is a progressive cosmopolitian equally at ease in the drawing rooms of the West and the parlours of the East. His first wife Susan was an English lady who was for many years in charge of Oxford University press publications in India.He is now married to Mariam who I believe is a Keralite Syrian Christian. She is an advertising executive. He is no chanter of Sanskrit slogas or manthras but someone capable of quoting from the Western classics as he once engaged in a verbal duel with JR Jayewardene on Shakespeare.

Another of Ram's characteristics is his pro - CPM or marxist sympathies. In his youth he was an activist of the pro - marxist Indian Students Federation.

Ram continues to maintain his leftist connections and CPM leanings though that is not allowed to affect Hindu editorial policy.Ram is closely associated with Prakash Karat the current Indian CPM leader.Due perhaps to the CPM background Ram keenly follows developments in China too and has written a series of articles after his numerous trips there.

He is also a fan of crusading author Arundh athi Roy and was once seen sitting on the steps of the British Council auditorium to listen to her lecturing to a packed audience.

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